Grant Shapps urged to open up travel to more destinations

·2-min read
Holiday firms have urged Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to open up travel to more destinations when restrictions are reviewed next week (Nick Ansell/PA) (PA Archive)
Holiday firms have urged Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to open up travel to more destinations when restrictions are reviewed next week (Nick Ansell/PA) (PA Archive)

Holiday firms have urged Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to open up travel to more destinations when restrictions are reviewed next week.

Trade association Abta wants more locations added to the green list, testing requirements eased, and tailored financial support for the industry.

It also questioned the recent decisions to remove the quarantine exemption for fully-vaccinated travellers returning from France and to put Spain’s Balearic Islands on the amber list.

The Government is failing to provide the predictability and stability requiredLuke Petherbridge, Abta

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Since May, quarantine and testing requirements have been determined by whether a person is entering the UK from a green, amber or red list location.

The next major update on which country is on which list will take place around August 4.

But the Department for Transport has committed to holding several “formal reviews” of the rules for each list, with the next due “no later than July 31”.

People returning from a green destination are not required to self-isolate, but only a handful of major European summer hotspots are in that tier.

Spain, Italy and Greece are among the countries on the amber list.

Those returning from an amber country must quarantine at home for 10 days unless they have had both doses of a coronavirus vaccine.

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

Abta’s director of public affairs Luke Petherbridge said: “While there have been some positive developments in recent weeks – most notably that people who have received both vaccinations through the NHS don’t need to quarantine when returning from amber countries – the industry continues to suffer setbacks like the recent changes we have seen to France and the Balearics.

“Every unexpected change or unexplained decision puts another dent in consumer confidence, which is already fragile.”

He added: “It is increasingly clear that the Government is failing to provide the predictability and stability required to rebuild consumer confidence and bring about the necessary conditions for a recovery.

“The Government must take action to support the travel industry, which is not only important in terms of jobs and contributions to the economy, but also the UK’s wider recovery from the pandemic.

“We’re a global nation and our international connectivity underpins this.”

EasyJet said this weekend would be its busiest of the year as many families depart on overseas trips at the start of school holidays.

The airline expects to carry more than 135,000 passengers from the UK to destinations across Europe.

Meanwhile, Jet2.com announced it has added more flights to Malta and the Portuguese island of Madeira – which are both on the green list – in September and October due to strong demand.

Chief executive Steve Heapy said: “It is clear that autumn breaks are in demand this year, so we have responded to that trend.”

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